October 2 – Happy Birthday Spec Shea

spec-sheaFrank “Spec” Shea spent his first season of organized ball in Amsterdam, playing for the old Rugmakers and living in the old Amsterdam Hotel. The year was 1940. A native of Naugatuck, Connecticut, he had been signed by the Yankees after pitching impressively in a 1939 collegiate summer league following his senior year in high school. The guy who signed him was the legendary Yankee super scout, Paul Krichell, who also signed Lou Gehrig, Tony Lazzeri, Phil Rizzuto and Whitey Ford. His real name was Francis Joseph O’Shea but he had dropped the “O” when he played in that summer league, much to his Dad’s consternation. In an interview of Shea, which appears in the excellent book entitled “Baseball’s Canadian-Amsterdam League,” written by Rug City native David Pietrusza, the pitcher explained how he almost packed his bags and went home after his first start for Amsterdam against Gloversville;

You can read the rest of my story about this former Amsterdam Rugmaker and NY Yankee in my new book “A Year’s Worth of Amsterdam Birthdays.” To order your copy, click here.

 

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